Ideas are the cornerstone to any business. Good ones drive new products, new services, higher revenues, greater efficiency, or improvements in customer service. Many consultants focus on management strategies, motivational techniques, metrics, processes, systems to continue to drive a business forward. Most forget the need for a steady stream of ideas.
Ideas can, and should come from anyone and anywhere. Any idea, even bad ideas can be fuel when brainstorming. Driving for that competitive edge, that automation that will save time. But ideas can do so much more that simply be fuel for growth or productivity.
Ideas can bond, they acknowledge people, they can build trust, and create a stronger concept of TEAM. Teamwork makes the dreamwork, as goofy as that saying is it is essentially true, or can be. Building a strong sense of team can provide high moral to your employees, and brings them into the process and allows them to share in, and believe in the vision and direction of the company.
Today every company has a hard time hiring new employees, many have a difficult time keeping good employees, or even any employees. What are some of the key ways to build a sense of team and loyalty with-in a company.
- "Thick of It"
We all have stories of that one boss, that person we would have done anything for. The one we bent over backwards to help. What made that boss so much better than others? Even when they had to discipline or hold to company policy. We still felt great working for them. I guarantee you, if you look back and pull apart the dynamics, these three things were at the heart of everything they did.
I would bet dollars to doughnuts that they showed you respect, praised you personally and publicly. Coached and mentored through mistakes. Trusted you to do what you said you would do, and what was asked of you. Included you in information, choices, processes and decisions when applicable. Challenged you to break from comfort zones and to achieve more. Last, and sometimes most important is being right there along side you, in the thick of it. Helping you, supporting you, teaching you.
You knew that boss trusted you to do you job, to be professional, and to meet the challenges and goals set before you. They trusted your ability, ideas, thoughts, and acknowledged that trust by supporting you every step of the way. That is the core of team building and that is the ideals that need to be established and fostered for a corporate culture where employees are excited, engaged, and involved.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE IDEAS TO BUILD TEAM
THE SUGGESTION BOX!
YES!, NO! Well Yes but not the suggestion box we all have seen, in almost every breakroom we have every worked in.
The idea of this is great, and the person who thought of it should be applauded. How it has been adapted into practice has failed completely. Most of your suggestion boxes out there in companies sit in a break room, long buried by napkins and years of take out condiment packets, or piled high with dust. A few that I have encountered doubled as trash cans, and cigarette butt receptacles.
The heart of the suggestion box is the goal to empower all employees with a voice, to provide feedback, acknowledgment, and engagement from the employee. When this is put into practice it fails. Because it isn't checked, or if it is employees are never told. Ideas disappear into the dark abyss of this "box of suggestion". What it ends of saying to employees is management give lip service to your ideas only. We believe that no good ideas could ever come from common everyday hourly employees. You are are workers, our pawns, nothing more than a cog in the wheel of this machine. We don't care to hear your ideas, because we have predetermined them all to be bad, wrong, or just as plain and stupid as you are. But, this box is suppose to make you feel as if you are important to us and we appreciate all you do. (where is that very needed sarcasm font. We have all had that boss or supervisor whose tone, demeaner, and practiced wording of the "I really appreciate you." Screams, please don't make me add your name to this statement because I am not sure if I even know your name and I don't appreciate you or hold you in any esteem because I don't think of you at all. The placation of appreciation effect by so many managers. Said so many times that it becomes meaningless, and employees know this.
But, garnering ideas, sharing the ideas, acknowledging the employee for coming up with the idea. Even if it a real stinker. Helps to start the process, that stinker might fuel an idea that saves the company hundreds of hours and millions of dollars in processes. Or is the next great revenue stream for the company. Knowing they are a part of the success, to growth, solutions and advancements. brings all levels of employees together. That cohesion starts to drive the formation of a team, teams focus on a goal together, they share a vision, and they work towards a singular goal as a unit, each playing a vital but different part.
For your business to run, to grow, to achieve those goals and follow the vision cast, management can't push or pull a group to the goal. They have to work together to reach that goal.
What are you doing to foster ideas? What are you using to track ideas? What are you doing to implement new ideas into your organization? Or are you a organization that believes only good ideas can come from MBA management graduates from "branded'/known schools?
If you are, change that culture immediately. Take your suggestion box digital, and acknowledge contributors. This is a step in the right direction to creating a "TEAM" Culture.